Surface contamination in the food production industry

Developing a new standard for cleaning and disinfection in the food production industry. This is the ambition of the research project Oppervlaktebesmettingen in de levensmiddelenindustrie (surface contamination in the food production industry).

Essential components in safeguarding the microbiological safety and shelf life of food are effective methods of cleaning and disinfection. Not only of the process environment, but also of the other contact surfaces. The cleaning strategies that are currently applied in the food production industry can be significantly improved. For example by:

  • A more objective assessment of the risks;
  • Drafting clear guidelines;
  • Gaining better insight in the build-up of surface contamination;
  • Examining the effectiveness of the different available cleaning strategies;

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research collaborates in a Public-Private Partnership (PPS) for this research.

New standard

Together, the parties want to develop a new standard for cleaning and disinfection for a number of sectors in the food production industry. And implement them as well. This ambition will be realized by the following activities, among others:

  • Increasing the knowledge about surface contamination. Better insight into surface contamination risks that need to be taken into consideration during the design and use of equipment;
  • Research into the applicability of innovative technologies such as cold plasma sterilization in cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in the food production industry.
  • Determining the effectiveness and suitability of a number of cleaning strategies (methods, means, technologies), which are currently on the market, or still in development;
  • Drafting (sector-specific) guidelines for effective cleaning of the process environment (equipment, space, users);
  • Implementation of knowledge in practice, including training of staff (operators as well as cleaners) and managers.

With the knowledge that is developed in this project, the food production industry in collaboration with the cleaning sector can focus more specifically on eliminating and managing the most significant microbiological risks.